call to arms
When former Mayor Michael Bloomberg won mayoral control of the city’s public schools or watched his dream of a West Side stadium die in Albany, he went into battle with a team of around a half dozen people tasked specifically with lobbying the state legislature.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is now locked in a fight for an income tax hike to fund universal prekindergarten, has taken a different tack so far: Only two staffers currently work under Sherif Soliman, the head of Mr. de Blasio’s state legislative affairs office. Both are holdovers from the Bloomberg administration.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a rare display of anger, today railed against Albany lawmakers, slamming Senate co-leader Dean Skelos for refusing to bring to vote the mayor’s signature plan to tax the rich to fund universal pre-k and sounding a call to clergy leaders to mobilize on its behalf.
“The gauntlet’s been thrown in Albany. We will respond,” the mayor told religious leaders and elected officials gathered at the Bethany Baptist Church in Brooklyn, at a breakfast organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton to support the universal pre-K funding plan.
Mayor Bill de Blasio declared today in his State of the City address that he will urge state lawmakers to grant New York City the power to raise its own minimum wage, setting up yet another struggle between progressives and right-leaning lawmakers in the state.
This campaign, however, could face even more resistance in Albany than Mr. de Blasio’s plan to hike taxes on the rich to fund universal prekindergarten, experts say.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is going to hang another key proposal of his early administration on Albany, announcing plans today to push state lawmakers to allow the city to set its own minimum wage during his first State of the City address.
De Blasio vs. Cuomo
Mayor Bill de Blasio traveled to Albany today to testify for the first time at a state budget hearing, where he tried to persuade lawmakers to pass his signature proposal to hike taxes on the wealthy to fund universal pre-kindergarten.
The plan puts him at odds with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has proposed funding the programs with other revenue.
Mayor Bill de Blasio today doubled down on his signature plan to tax the rich to fund universal pre-K, even as Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to roll out an alternative funding stream in his annual budget address this afternoon.
Taking questions after a press conference announcing two new appointments, Mr. de Blasio said he would continue to push for his tax increase, even if the governor provides all the money the mayor says he needs through an alternate funding stream.
These days, the liberal activists collecting signatures and knocking on doors aren’t rallying against the mayor; they’re working for him.
Newly-minted Mayor Bill de Blasio this morning began the next phase of his push to raise taxes to fund universal pre-K, unleashing a “grassroots and online campaign” dubbed “UPKNYC” to build momentum for and pressure lawmakers in Albany to pass his signature campaign proposal.
Malcolm and Clyde
The city’s new public advocate, Tish James, who had vowed to be a thorn in the side of fellow officials, is already making good on her promise.
At a press conference early this morning demanding more education funding from the state, Ms. James went after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the $2 billion tax cut plan he unveiled ahead of his State of the State speech last week, separating her from other city lawmakers, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, who have largely refused to criticize the plan.
State Senator Malcolm Smith, a Democrat charged last year in a sprawling bribery scheme to land himself on the GOP ballot for mayor, looks like he will now be fending off at least two challengers if he seeks re-election this year.
Mr. Smith, is already facing attorney Munir Avery and will now also contend with Clyde Vanel, a former candidate for City Council and the State Assembly.
Mayor Bill de Blasio made his first trip up to Albany as mayor of New York City today and quickly downplayed any difference with the governor–potentially his biggest hurdle in the weeks ahead.
“I think it’s been a very positive day as I prepare to build a very constructive working relationship with all the leaders in Albany,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s annual State of the State speech. “I think this speech’ll be a great road-map for so much of our work going forward.”